Today was the first day that we went out on a true mission. It started like a normal day with breakfast and conversation, getting to know the team members,if they had kids, if they are married, career and all the small stuff that you talk about to make that awkward silence leave the room. Once that was done is what I am calling dessert, the part of meal that you wait for the whole day to savor and hang onto till the next day.
We left for our mission trip at 9am. We loaded into our truck called the "tap tap", and drove into the unknown. As we drove, I learned that they do not honk when angry, but rather as a way to communicate with traffic due to no traffic light. As we drove further, we turned into an alley way, the gates opened and our new reality began. We sat in a Gazebo and waited for the kids to take a break from school and join us. All of a sudden you could hear little voices signing a song in a foreign language and a train of kids smiling and singing. With the look that I can only describe as what my own children looked like on Christmas morning. The kids came to the top step of the Gazebo, eyed us all up, and chose who they wanted to love on them. We as the adults waited in anticipation until we each had a child or three, hugging, jumping, pulling our hands to follow us all while smiling and giggling. We had about an hour to do crafts, played soccer, held them, and some of us just cried knowing that this was there home. I was amazed to watch these 4 and 5 year old children help each other find their shoes, put them on, grab one of us to tie them then when back into their train line singing happily and walking back to class. We all got back into the tap tap and off we went to the next stop.
We drove to a Metal Market where the workers pound out tin into amazing designs. They work 12-14 hours pounding, scraping and begging us to choose their projects. They hold the tin with their feet and most of these men's toes were permanently curved due to holding the tin for so long. We got back into the tap tap after buying lots of decorations and onto the next location.
We drove to out next location which was Dio's, an orphanage for special needs/disabilities. they opened the gates and we had the happiest kids greet us with smiles. We kind of all stood there in awe not really knowing what to expect yet again. In about 5 seconds we had kids in walkers and crutches playing soccer, coloring, dancing, rapping into the speaker and loving life. We think that we go there to help them, but in reality, they helped us. They Changed us. They opened our hearts and our eyes to what love pure love is. This experience at this home was so huge for me that I honestly cannot explain it in words. Probably one of the most humbling intimate experiences that I have every been shown by the Lord. Everyone reading this and knowing anyone that came here, ask them about this experience at Dio's. Everyone's story in unique and amazing and full of love.
As we left, the children's faces that were filled with anticipation and excitement was now gone. They all stood there and waved as we left. It broke me. It hurt my heart and soul. We loaded the tap tap and drove away, crying, questioning God "why",comforting each other and just digesting what we just witnessed.
I will close with this. I and my team are blessed. We are blessed to experience this. We are blessed to be here to help and show these children that they are important and loved. We are blessed to witness the power of love in each other and these children. All in all, WE ARE BLESSED.
P.S. Hopefully pictures tomorrow. Internet has been a little dicey here!